Research Output
Extending taxonomic visualisation to incorporate synonymy and structural markers.
  The visualisation of taxonomic hierarchies has evolved from indented lists of names to techniques that can display thousands of nodes and onto hundreds of thousands of nodes over multiple taxonomies. However, challenges remain within multiple hierarchy visualisation, and for taxonomic hierarchy visualisation in particular. Firstly, at present, there is no support for handling specific taxonomic information such as synonymy, with current visualisations matching solely on names. Synonymy is extremely important as it reflects expert opinion on the compatibility of data held in separate taxonomies, and is needed to produce an accurate picture of taxonomic overlap. Also, current techniques for exploring large hierarchies find it difficult to convey internal reorganisations between hierarchies, with most systems showing only addition, removal or wide-ranging fragmentation of information between taxonomies. Finding the source of changes that have occurred within an existing structure is currently only achievable through exhaustive drill-down exploration. This paper describes work that tackles these problems, incorporating synonymy information into a model for multiple hierarchy visualisation of large taxonomies, and also detailing techniques that aid navigation for discovering structural re-organisations between hierarchies and for revealing information about nodes that lie below the effective display resolution of the hierarchy layout. Two examples on real taxonomic data sets are annotated to show the effectiveness of these techniques in operation.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 January 2005

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  • Publisher

    Palgrave Macmillan

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  • ISSN:



Graham, M., & Kennedy, J. (2005). Extending taxonomic visualisation to incorporate synonymy and structural markers. Information Visualization, 4, 206-223.



Information systems; Life sciences; Taxonomy; Multiple tree visualisation; Tree layout; Multiple hierarchies; Synonomy; Computer applications; Pattern recognition; Design methodology; Drill-down;

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